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Sign up for "Freelance PitchFest for writers and editors"

Friday, March 28, 3:30-6:15 p.m.

Attention AHCJ Freelance Writers! Editors from some of the top magazines, newspapers, Web sites are coming to Washington, D.C., to meet you! Bring your best ideas and your business cards to the first AHCJ Freelance PitchFest. This session has been created to give you an opportunity to sit down and discuss your ideas one-on-one with editors from selected publications.

Sign up for time with the editors and come prepared to sell your work.

NOTE: Many of the time slots filled up quickly but we have reserved many spots to be filled on site. So if a slot with an editor you want to meet is not available, be sure to ask for an appointment with him or her when you check in at the conference.

IMPORTANT:

  • Please choose your preferred appointment times with the editors who have agreed to take part in the PitchFest.

  • Each appointment is for seven minutes.

  • Additional time slots will be available for those who wish to sign up at the conference. We will start taking on-site signups for the PitchFest at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, March 28, at the conference registration desk in the Crystal Ballroom Foyer.

  • You may only sign up for one appointment for each editor and your selections are not final until you receive a confirmation from AHCJ.


The editors and their publications:

Sara Austin, features director (health & news), at Self magazine

Austin oversees all health coverage at Self, including service and investigations. Self has 5 million readers, typically women in their mid-20s to early 40s. Coverage deals with readers' own health and wellness only; pregnancy is covered but not parenting or children's health. Word counts range from 200 word items to 4000 word features. Article formats include personal essays; the True Story column, dramatic narratives of women's health challenges; the Need to Know column, medium-length features on newsy health topics; feature-length service articles; as well as major investigative or narrative features.

Self's medical coverage is vigilantly researched and evidence-based; all stories should be tied to recent research findings or other fresh news pegs. Features should use vivid storytelling to show how complex medical issues and public policies directly affect the lives of real women.

To sign up for appointments with Austin and the other participating editors, please visit the conference registration desk. We will start taking on-site signups for the PitchFest at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, March 28, at the conference registration desk in the Crystal Ballroom Foyer.


David Corcoran, assistant science editor, The New York Times:

Corcoran is responsible for assigning and editing health and behavior stories for Science Times, and he produces and anchors the weekly Science Times Podcast. In nearly 20 years at The Times, he has also been education editor, deputy graphics director and deputy op-ed editor. He also writes poetry, and has been published in the journal Podium.

Science Times is the weekly science section of The New York Times, which has a daily circulation of 1.1 million. The eight-page section devotes at least two-and-a-half pages each week to health, behavioral and medical news and features. While most of these articles are staff-written and most of the remainder are done by contract writers or regular contributors, the Science Times generally carries at least one article a week by freelance journalists, health-care professionals and members of the general public. These vary from personal essays called Cases, about a firsthand encounter with the health-care system, to reported stories about new developments or trends. Word counts usually range from 500 to 1,500.

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Tami Dennis, health section editor, Los Angeles Times

A longtime newspaper editor, Dennis also has worked at the Detroit Free Press and The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.

The weekly Los Angeles Times Health section emphasizes consumer news, trends and developing issues in medicine, health care, nutrition, behavior and fitness.Though focused on Southern California, the section takes a national perspective, drawing upon experts, research and events from across the country - providing greater context and depth than can often be found in breaking news stories. It assumes a certain level of knowledge and sophistication on the part of readers, but as a general interest publication, Health also regularly includes practical information and resources that readers can use in their daily lives. The stories must contain new information (no perennial stories or "awareness week" pitches, please), but shouldn't be so narrowly focused that they appeal to a very small percentage of readers or advance a story only slightly.

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Julian Kesner, senior editor, Prevention

Julian Kesner is a senior editor at Prevention magazine, covering general health and psychology news. He was formerly a health reporter at the New York Daily News.

Prevention is the number one healthy lifestyle magazine brand and the ninth largest magazine in the nation, with more than 11 million readers. The top online health magazine destination, Prevention.com has 1.7 million unique visitors each month. This year, Prevention will publish more than 15 branded books, 16 special-interest publications, 15 international editions, four bookazines and three DVDs under the bestselling Prevention Fitness Systems. Team Prevention will also lead walking events at five marathons across the country this year.

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Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., senior food & nutrition editor, Health magazine

Largeman-Roth works on healthy recipes, food trends, weight loss issues and the latest nutrition research. She also writes a monthly food and health trend column called Best in Food. Largeman-Roth was previously part of the editorial team at the Discovery Health Channel and was managing editor at FoodFit.com. She has worked with top chefs and food personalities, putting a healthier spin on recipes from Jamie Oliver, Mark Bittman, Emily Luchetti, Gayle Gand, Rick Bayless, and Stephen Raichlen, among others. Largeman-Roth is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Health offers women credible, useful, and up-to-date information and inspiration on how to live healthier, happier lives. Health covers well-being, fitness, nutrition, and beauty with intelligence and flair, showing that healthy living isn’t just important – it’s fun, too. The magazine has a circulation of 1.35 million and is published 10 times a year, reaching 7 million readers with each issue. Health is looking for stories with relevance to women ages 35 to 50 that focus on new research, health trends and controversies and medical stories with a celebrity hook. Editors want strong service with realistic, actionable advice for the magazine's readers. Stories with real-women hooks and universal appeal are what we're known for. We look for writers who can translate medical jargon into interesting, funny (when appropriate), compelling stories.

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Marilyn Milloy, features editor, AARP: The Magazine

Milloy has been a working journalist for more than 25 years. She started her career in newspapers, first at The Miami Herald, then at New York’s Newsday, where she was national correspondent for 13 years. She later turned to magazines, freelancing for such publications as Essence, Smithsonian and Ms., before becoming senior editor at Heart & Soul magazine. Milloy has been at AARP: The Magazine for a year.

With more than 33 million readers nationwide, AARP The Magazine is the world's largest circulation magazine and the definitive lifestyle publication for Americans 50+. Reaching over 22.5 million households, AARP The Magazine looks for exceptional writers who can deliver health and fitness features that are forward-looking and research-based; consumer interest information and tips; timely financial  guidance; and general interest stories about cutting edge ideas, trends and extraordinary 50+ people. Published bimonthly in print and continually online, AARP The Magazine was founded in 1958 and is the flagship title of AARP Publications. Query letters for specific features and departments should be no more than a page in length and accompanied by recent writing samples. Writers should explain the idea for the piece, tell how you would approach it, give some sense of your writing style, and mention the section of the magazine for which the piece is intended.

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Glenn O'Neal, assignment editor (health, medicine), USA Today

O'Neal has been an assignment editor for USA Today since August 2000. He oversees a team of health reporters and freelancers who cover a wide range of health topics, including heart disease, cancer, cold/flu, AIDS, Alzheimer's, diabetes and mental health. He is also active with the health coverage on the newspaper's Web site, usatoday.com. Prior to joining USA Today, O'Neal worked at a number of newspapers in his native North Carolina, first as a reporter and later as a content editor.

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Ivan Oransky, M.D., managing editor for online, Scientific American:

Scientific American's Web site is aimed at readers broadly interested in science. We like pitches that are truly original, that deal with emerging or cutting-edge research, or that bring new insight to issues with which our readers may already be familiar. We tend to cover straight news in-house, although for the right pitches we make exceptions. We're very open to pitches for certain regular features, for example "Fact or Fiction," "Strange But True," and technology stories. For the right subject and approach, we'd consider a new regular feature. I'd strongly recommend freelancers spend some time looking carefully at our online offerings to find something that makes sense.

Oransky recently was named to this position. Previously, Oransky was deputy editor of The Scientist. He has served as editor in chief of Praxis Post, an online magazine of medicine and culture. He has also written for publications including The Boston Globe, the Lancet, Slate and The Wall Street Journal Online. He teaches medical journalism at New York University and the City University of New York, and was first elected to the AHCJ board of directors in 2002.

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Julia Sommerfeld, senior health editor, MSNBC.com

As the senior editor of MSNBC.com’s health section, Sommerfeld sets editorial strategy and vision for health coverage, assigns and edits stories and leads a team of both staff and contributing health writers and producers. Before joining the site, she was a medical reporter at The Seattle Times, where she was named finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for a series on sexual abuse by health care providers.

The msnbc.com health section is a leading online destination for medical news, featuring a variety of health content including breaking news, lifestyle trends, expert columns, multimedia reports, interactive tools and off-beat blogs. The health section is visited by 16 million unique users each month, a growing segment of the site’s audience of 84 million monthly unique users. The health section, which publishes several articles each week by freelancers, is looking for well-formed pitches on new research, controversies in health care and emerging trends as well as service features and oddball brights from professional health writers who can accurately explain medical news in easy-to-understand terms. Story ideas must be fresh, grabby and relevant to a mainstream national audience.

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Frances Stead Sellers, health editor, The Washington Post

Sellers has been the editor of The Post's Health section since 2006, developing the paper's vision for health  coverage, and assigning and editing articles from both staff writers and freelancers. She has a long history of working with freelance journalists before coming to Health – at Civilization magazine, where she was deputy editor, and at The Post's Sunday section of commentary and opinion, Outlook.

Health is a consumer-oriented section, with pieces that range in length from 300 words (often stemming from recent studies or journal articles) to features that can be as long as 2,000 words. We often break those longer features down into shorter stories with consumer-friendly informational sidebars or graphic elements. We like stories that have some added online value – video, photo galleries etc. We are eager to experiment with multimedia. We hope to give readers an understanding of trends in the provision of healthcare and how, for example, the Internet is changing the consumer experience. We tend to avoid animal studies or esoteric research that doesn't yet affect consumers.

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Sean Swint, executive editor, WebMD

Swint joined WebMD in 1999 after a five-year stint at CNN Headline News as a producer/writer. After majoring in journalism at the University of Masshusetts Amherst, he became editor of a metro Atlanta weekly newspaper.

WebMD publishes a wide variety of health content, created to empower our users to make healthy decisions. We create eight to 12 news articles a day, anywhere from five to 15 lifestyle and topic-specific features a week, along with reference content, blogs, tools, special reports, conference coverage, and content for WebMD the magazine. We have an in-house team of writers, editors and medical editors (MDs). While we generate ideas in-house, we also work with a large team of freelancers, and we do accept ideas for news and feature topics. Our lead time for assignment varies from weeks to daily. We are always looking for fresh ideas and top-notch writers, from regions all over the U.S., and internationally.

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Remember, Your selections are not final until you receive a confirmation from AHCJ.